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Gloucester 19-24 Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership
Diamond denies illegal approach for Redpath
April 21, 2012
Sale's Andy Powell celebrates his side's victory over Gloucester, Gloucester v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership, Kingsholm, Gloucester, England, April 21, 2012
Sale's Andy Powell celebrates his side's victory over Gloucester © Getty Images
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Sale chief executive Steve Diamond has unequivocally denied allegations that his club made an illegal approach to Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath.

The Sharks this afternoon put one foot in the Heineken Cup by edging their virtual showdown with Gloucester 24-19 at Kingsholm for the last remaining place in next season's competition via the Aviva Premiership. But the match was overshadowed by the controversy involving Redpath, who put in his letter of resignation to Gloucester on Monday which lead to threats of legal action by their director Ryan Walkinshaw if there was evidence to suggest approaches had been made.

The links and rumours that Redpath was going to Sale started circulating a week ago, but Diamond said: "The true version is that we have had no conversations with Bryan Redpath. I have had discussions with his agent since he resigned from here but, up until then, nothing.

"I think he has interviews at Munster and possibly Bath so he has a busy agenda. But, if he is available, we are going to speak with him. Now he is available, he is on our shopping list. We will make a decision at the end of the season. We need someone in place by June 6 for pre-season."

He was asked directly after the match whether Redpath had been contacted by Sale about becoming their coach, and the former hooker said: "Certainly not. That's unequivocal."

Diamond was pleased that Sale have almost put themselves in the Heineken Cup. Only Bath stand in their way and the west-country club need to beat Leicester at Welford Road with a bonus point on the last day of the regular season - May 5 - while Sale have to lose and get nothing at home to Harlequins on the same day to deny the Cheshire club a place in the top European competition.

Diamond said: "It was a good win. It is good to come down here and get the victory. We are on the up and, if we can qualify for Europe, it will be a great result for the club, with the new stadium. It will be really positive for rugby in Manchester.

"We were six points down at half-time but, with the wind and with Nick Macleod's kicking, we just needed to get field position. We are delighted with the second-half performance with the elements. We have young backs and if they get the ball in hand, they can go through gaps. It is always a difficult place to come but it is good to shut their crowd up!"

The disruption during the week meant Gloucester forwards coach Carl Hogg took charge of the team for the game. He said: "This week has been emotional for many of the players. It was a special occasion today with a lot of players playing their last games at Kingsholm - Scott Lawson, Alasdair Strokosch, Mike Tindall, Tom Voyce - so there was no lack of endeavour. We just lacked precision.

"We gave away two soft tries and we also didn't manage the wind in the second half and ultimately that was our downfall. But I am very proud of the players' effort and commitment. It has been a difficult week but that group of players have a lot of pride to play in the Cherry and White jersey.

"Today was pretty much a showdown for Heineken Cup qualification and that is also disappointing with the group of players we have coming in next season. We have another game left, though, and we have to look forward."

As for Redpath's resignation, Hogg said it was a shock to everyone. "We had a clear-the-air meeting on Tuesday and in the afternoon we were back to work. We are professional coaches and professional players and we had to move forward."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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